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Fremont Marine injured in Afghanistan

SoldierwebMarine Corporal Jonathan Melbourne, 21, lost his right eye  and sustained injuries to his face and right arm when his bomb sniffing dog (pictured above) inadvertently set off a improvised explosive device in Afghanistan earlier this month.

The 2006 Irvington High School grad is recuperating at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. with his parents and girlfriend by his side. We should have more details about Melbourne in Wednesday’s paper.

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Fremont News of the Day

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Tri-City religious leaders to thank G-d for NUMMI/Tesla deal. Hope they say a prayer for Downey, CA.

Fremont girls would make good generals.

Mr. Roadshow talks I-680/Mission Interchange blues.

Mercury News says “Fremont is back on its feet” with Tesla deal.

Fremont hockey fans take solace in this: The New York Islanders endured four years of playoff misery before they started the greatest dynasty in modern sports 30 years ago today. It began like this.

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Ishan Shah Fundraiser

ishan1When I first talked to Fremont City Council Candidate Ishan Shah last year, he said he’d raise money for his campaign by collecting spare change. I think he’s given up on that idea.

Ishan, who turns 18 next month, held a fundraiser last night at an Indian restaurant in Newark, where the goal was to raise $15,000 for the upcoming campaign. It was kind of a cross between a bar mitzvah and a political rally. There were a lot of young people in suits and dresses, and two big screens playing all Ishan all the time — at least for the 20 minutes I was there.

Ishan sat at a table with several friends and with Garrett and Maria Yee. Larry Sweeney and Lily Mei from the school board were also there. More on them in the post below.

ishan2I know one commenter on the blog will conclude that I’m backing Ishan because I stopped by the fundraiser. But that’s not the case. I’m rarely personally invited to these things, and I’m almost never guaranteed that the free food will be mostly vegetarian. I’d consider dropping by an Aryan Nation rally if they were serving all-you-can-eat pakoras.

Ishan comes from a wealthy family, and I don’t think last night’s spectacle happens if that wasn’t the case.   But there are a lot of rich kids in Fremont.

Ishan’s smart, but more importantly, he possesses a fascinating combination of ego and nerve, and it’s amazing how far those two attributes have taken him.

The best evidence I’ve seen of that was Friday. Somehow KTVU decided to interview Ishan about the Tesla/NUMMI deal. Not only did Ishan get camera time when no sitting member of the council was interviewed, but he managed to get a plug in for for his campaign website. It was astonishing. Watch it here.

I shot a quick video of one of the speakers. It’s below the strange code.

Forget my video. It stunk.

For the bar mitzvah aspect of the evening check out these two videos.

Ishan’s speech is below:

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A little more on Harvey Milk

mei and sweeneyHappy Harvey Milk Day. My fellow Long Islander would have turned 80 today.

Last night at Ishan Shah’s fundraiser I spoke to school board members Larry Sweeney and Lily Mei about their hesitancy to back a school board resolution honoring Milk. The board will reconsider a resolution on Wednesday. Both Sweeney and Mei wouldn’t commit to supporting it this time around either.

I mostly talked to Sweeney about it. He said he wasn’t thrilled with the language in the resolution. He said it made it seem like Milk was killed because he was defending gay rights. He also doesn’t understand why the board would be honoring the first openly gay person to hold elected office in California, but not the first woman, etc.

I asked him why they didn’t just approve it last week, since no one would have cared. It’s not like there would have been a recall petition. He said people did care, and that unlike the city council, the school board doesn’t like to delve into politics.

My sense after talking to him is that the board on Wednesday will pass a re-worded and somewhat watered-down version of the original resolution. We’ll see.

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Wolff says A’s can’t finance Fremont stadium

lewTesla might not have a problem with the Oakland A’s as a neighbor, but A’s co-owner Lew Wolff sees no future for the team in Fremont.

Wolff told me today that Fremont isn’t an option for the A’s, because the team can’t finance a Fremont ballpark without the ability to sell  entitlements to build the 3,150 housing units that were part of the original ballpark village plan.

“The entire activity in Fremont was based on the ability to sell residential entitlements,” he said.

And Wolff doesn’t anticipate the market supporting the magnitude of housing envisioned in the ballpark village plan. “I think we missed our opportunity,” he said. “We have to be in an existing downtown.”

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Harvey Milk continues to make headlines

Last week, the Fremont school board tabled a resolution recognizing tomorrow as Harvey Milk Day, in honor of the state’s first openly gay elected official who was slain. (I understand the resolution will be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting.)

Then we learned that the Fremont City Council is scheduled to adopt its own resolution recognizing Milk at Tuesday’s meeting.

Now, the Kern (County) High School District board has adopted a policy that the district won’t celebrate Harvey Milk Day, nor encourage schools to have activities in memory of the man.

I wonder what elected officials in Union City and Newark make of all this.

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Fremont City Council to honor Harvey Milk

milk2One week after the Fremont Unified School District held off on hornoring  Harvey Milk, because “he stands for gay rights … a very sensitive issue,” the Fremont City Council is poised to honor Milk.

The council has put a resolution for Milk on Tuesday’s agenda. I’m guessing it will be approved without any contention.

Also, the council is scheduled to pass the all-important second reading for the law that will shift responsibility and liability for street trees and sidewalk maintenance to residential homeowners.

In more council news, the council is expected to approve using a federal stimulus program to help Dale Hardware’s planned expansion. Dale Hardware and Solaria were the only two Fremont companies to apply for the bond financing program, and Dale was the only one that met qualifications.

Also, the council is expected to sweeten the deal for Eden Housing’s senior housing complex that’s going to be built on Peralta Avenue near Fremont Boulevard (The old Golden Peacock site). Fremont granted a Eden a loan and was supposed to get paid back 3 percent interest.

But Eden has had some funding issues, so the city will likely make it an interest free loan, costing the city’s redevelopment agency nearly $2 million over the next 40 years.